***Commentary*** Grateful To Everyone And Everything

Three Puna toddlers enjoy the live band outside Pahoa Museum on Friday night. Photo by Tiffany Edwards Hunt

I’ll spare you the details, but I had a real trying day yesterday.  I had interpersonal conflict and then a near car crash that left me totally rattled.  At the end of the day, I sat down at Luquin’s to celebrate a three-year-old’s birthday. At one point, a friend offered me a bite of chocolate cake.  Ah! It looked so scrumptious, I was hoping it would be my panacea. Just as the fork neared and I opened my mouth for the desired bite, the piece of cake fell into my lap and soiled my mu’umu’u. Damn! One more mishap to add to the list in this trying day. I could not wait for the night to end.

The toddlers were pretty wound up for cake and ice cream.  We could hear music coming from across the street, so we decided to take the kids outside to check it out.  A live band was set up in front of Pahoa Museum.  Next thing I know, one of my girlfriends who is a singer took over the microphone and bellowed out La Bamba.   We went from softly swaying to whatever tired song the band was playing to dancing wildly with excitement.  At one point, I caught the expression of the band that my friend had taken over.  They appeared totally dumbfounded that she was nailing La Bamba.  Still, the band went along with it and  transitioned to Twist and Shout, being that the song has the same chords as La Bamba.  We continued to dance wildly.   Read more

Group Essay — Reflecting On Statehood And The Last 50 Years

Courtesy of Los Angeles Times

Hawaii State Archives photo courtesy of Honolulu Magazine

Hawaii State Archives photo courtesy of Honolulu Magazine. Click here to read "50 Moments of Statehood, turning points that shaped Hawaii" by Tiffany Hill, Lorraine Jonemann, Michael Keany and Kam Napier

Inspired by the Honolulu Magazine, Big Island Chronicle has put together meaningful moments in Hawaii the last 50 years of Statehood.

Honolulu Magazine came up with “50 Moments of Statehood,” but I’m sure we can come up with a lot more than that to describe the last 50 years that Hawaii been the 50th state. Let’s get listing.  Here is a start, including but not limited to the moments listed by Honolulu Magazine writers Tiffany Hill, Lorraine Jonemann, Michael Keany and Kam Napier:

Honolulu Star Bulletin photo by Albert Yamauchi of newspaper boy Chester Kahapea on Aug. 21, 1959.

Honolulu Star Bulletin photo by Albert Yamauchi of newspaper boy Chester Kahapea on Aug. 21, 1959.

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Group Essay — Regarding The Allocation Of Fuel Tax Revenue, Thinking Outside The Box Is Needed

(Rob Tucker is a Puna resident who is active with the non profit group Friends of Puna’s Future (FoPF) and is the moderator of www.Punaweb.org. He and I, through and email exchange, started what hopefully with your help will be a group essay related to fuel tax revenue and how it should be allocated countywide.)

Rob: Consider the following agenda item for the County Council on (Wednesday) July 8th. You might wish to submit testimony (email counciltestimony@co.hawaii.hi.us). Here is the language of the agenda item. I have used red letters for the place that leaves Puna out of the dollars.

“Bill 79 — Amends Ordinance No. 08-79, as amended, Relating to Public Improvements and Financing Thereof for Fiscal Year July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009. {Establishes the following program appropriations:
Roadway Projects (Engineering) $2,000,000
Bridge Inspection, Repair and Replacement Program (Engineering) $1,000,000
Americans With Diabilities Act Curb Cut and Accessible Route Program (Engineering) $500,000
and Local Road Improvements (Highways) $3,500,00 for a total of $7,000,000;
funds shall be provided from that portion of the Highway Fund, which is designated as the Fuel Tax Increase Account No. 3104.6, and which consists of the increase fuel tax revenues created pursuant to Resolution No. 504-08. Projected Revenues are being allocated based on each district’s percentage of miles of local streets for all roads maintained by the county (specific projects are listed in Exhibit A).} Read more

Group Essay — Conservation In Tough Times, Or Any Time

"Clothes Swap" By Juli Ann Niemeyer

"Clothes Swap" By Juli Ann Niemeyer

(Consider this the launch of a new category entitled “group essay” for occasions like yesterday when a group of us envisioned together and put our thoughts on paper.)

 About a dozen women gathered in a private home off Papaya Farms Road in Kapoho to share food and clothes we grew out of or disinterested in, and inspired each other in conversation and laughter.  As we waited for other girls to arrive, we went around the room, each of us answering the question, “how can we conserve in tough times,” the girls said what came to mind:

 “(Ana) Conservation of resources is something that needs to happen all the time.  Buy food in the bulk section and bring your own jars to fill up the bulk foods. Avoid the use of a plastic bag.  Have the cashier weigh your jar before you fill it.  (Tiffany) Barter; (Michelle) Dilute dish soap.  Buy a huge dish soap and use it to refill a smaller dispenser. It’s amazing how a little goes a long way.  Use less water.  Using less soap you can afford to buy the biodegradable kind; (Aubrey) Book exchange; (Jessica) Car-pooling; (Alex) Install a switch on the shower to put your shower on pause, so you can conserve but not have to turn your shower completely off; (Mara) Eat less.  Rationalize your expenses for buying organic produce;  (Kahea)  We need a birthing center in Puna and how we need to raise money to make this facility happen, so women don’t need to drive to Hilo or Waimea from Puna; (Stephanie) Be a scavenger.  We stop by the Kea’au Reuse Center on our way into Hilo.  We make a list of things to manifest and we find them at the reuse center.  We need more reuse centers at other transfer stations.  We need to change our scavenging law.  We need to be concerned about buying less,  buying less for our babies — there’s so much baby crap.  They say moms are the number one consumers.  I say scavenge. I am a really resourceful person.  (Kahea) What about community money, a trade system where you pay each other your own money for services? (Members of the group expressed concern for tax issues other communities experienced when trying this); (Kahea) Buy Local;  (Tiffany)  A construction and demolition landfill, we need a place where people can go to find recycled building materials.  Jars, save and reuse jars.  I buy products based on how reusability of the jar; (Stephanie)  Houses with lawns — there is never anybody on the front lawns and people buy gas to move the lawn.  Rip that out and create urban gardens; (Emmy)  Landscape public places with fruit and vegetables.  Create edible landscapes; (Kahea) Tool library.  Create a place where you can check out tools, like Phinney Ridge Community Center in Seattle; (Members of the group) A bike library, like the one in Arcadia Calif., would be great for Hilo.  Bike paths, we need more bike paths in Hilo; Crop sharing; Recycle your clothes at a party with your girlfriends (or boyfriends).”